S.C. Lee Junior high students learn conservation through quail dissection

By JOANNE DEVER 
Special to Leader-Press

S.C. Lee Junior High 7th grade students witnessed first-hand how animal structures work together to perform functions necessary for life by dissecting a quail and observing what they found. 
Science teachers Mason Miller and Joanne Dever welcomed Texas Wild Life Association-Central Texas Education Program Specialist Brian Robert to their classes to lead students in examining the birds. 
Robert has been with TWA since 2015 and works with teachers to help students learn how to do a better job of taking care of Texas using water conservation, land stewardship, and habitat management.
“You always have one or two kids that are like ‘I’m not doing that,’ and then by the end of the dissection they’re looking and asking questions. Just seeing them go from completely standoffish…to being completely involved and asking questions, it’s great,” Robert said.
The dissection offered a hands-on approach to understanding conservation, human impact on ecosystems, adaptations for survival, levels of organization, and organ systems. With the help of TWA San Antonio and the bobwhite quail, students learned about habitat requirements, biology, and physiology. 
According to the Texas Wildlife Association, quail are important indicators of ecosystem health in Texas, as well as being an excellent model for examining animal structures and adaptations.
Questions asked by Robert and the teachers during the lab served as a formative assessment and review of unit objectives. The students reviewed the proper use of lab tools and studied the relationship between organisms and their environments. 
Students also extended their knowledge and understanding of the impact of human activity on the environment and living organisms. Seventh graders Lorelei Paddock gained knowledge to prepare her for her future career goal of becoming a veterinarian. 
“I got to see the heart. I got to see the digestive system. I got to see and learn all about the animal and the systems inside of it which helps me better learn about the human body and other animals,” Paddock said.
TWA and S.C. Lee science teachers hope that teaching students about wildlife and habitat requirements will inspires students to be responsible for preservation and conservation of the environment. 

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